Courtesy of MCT
A company’s dress code is perhaps one of the most important aspects of an internship (aside from the work part of course).
Many bosses might tell you, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” While I am not suggesting purchasing the perfect power suit, I do recommend dressing as professionally as possible on a college-student budget. Scorching summer days can make this a bit of a challenge. There’s no denying that a swingy dress in the “Windy City” or a suit jacket in 100-degree Manhattan are simply out-of-the-question. However, you do have other options.
Shorts: Ladies, these are an option for you. Shorts can be a great alternative to swingy skirts or cropped pants, which generally don’t flatter most body types. Before you get too excited, let’s review some rules. No denim. Denim is generally considered a casual material and denim shorts bring new meaning to the term, “Casual Friday” and not in a good way. Look for shorts with at least a four-inch inseam. These are short enough to keep you cool, but long enough to avoid turning too many heads. Be more conservative on top. You want to leave something to the imagination.
Short-sleeved button down: This style will work for both ladies and gents. Ladies can wear these tops with a skirt, pants or shorts. Gents, this is the perfect option for those of you who wear suits. If you plan on rolling up your long-sleeved button-down anyway, this will allow you to skip a step. Unless you work in a very fashion-forward office, it’s doubtful many people will notice the lack of sleeve peeking out of your jacket.
Layer: Hold your blazer, cardigan or jacket until you walk in the office door. Everyone knows it’s hot outside and probably won’t penalize you for wanting to avoid looking like you ran a marathon to get to work. Gentlemen, I highly suggest wearing a cotton undershirt underneath your button-down to avoid embarrassing sweat stains. You can even consider leaving your blazer or sweater at work so it’s ready for the next day. It’s one less thing for you to remember pre-coffee in the morning.
Flip-flop alternatives: There is no acceptable way to wear flip-flops to the office. However, there are plenty of shoes that are acceptable sans tights or socks. Ladies, opt for gladiator sandals, wedges or flats. All are easy to walk in and will allow your feet to breath on your walk to work. Gents, avoid dress shoes by opting for loafers that can be worn with bare feet. (Some office dress codes require socks with shoes at all times, so make sure to check beforehand).
Before making any drastic dressing decisions, take a look at what others in the office are wearing. Does your supervisor wear jeans or shorts? If not, you probably shouldn’t either. If everyone in your office wears a dress and that’s not really your thing, try a skirt or wide-leg linen pants. If gents seem to avoid ties or jackets on hot days, chances are you can too. It’s all about careful observation. Use your best judgment, and trust your gut.